Dog Heartworm Test

Heartworm is a potentially fatal disease, caused by a parasitic worm that invades the dog’s body when an infected mosquito bites the dog. This blood-borne parasite is known as Dirofilaria immitis. Adult worms are found in the heart, usually and rarely in other parts of the circulatory system. Adult heartworms may live up to 5 years and during this time, the female produces millions of offsprings called microfilaria. As many as 30 species of mosquitoes transmit heartworms, this threat is more intense the more south you go. All pets going to the United States should be on a preventative.

What are the symptoms of heartworm in a dog?

It takes several years before dogs show clinical signs of infection. It is rarely diagnosed when the dog is very young since it takes 5-7 months for the worms to mature worms. Adult worms cause disease by clogging the heart and other blood vessels, they also interfere with the valve action in the heart. The major signs are a soft, dry cough, shortness of breath and loss of stamina, weakness, nervousness. The signs are more noticeable following exercise.

How do dogs get heartworm?

The disease is not spread directly from dog to dog. Transmission requires the mosquito as an intermediate host. The spread of the disease coincides with the mosquito season (which can be year-round in many parts of the United States, but not so much in Canada). The mosquito usually bites the dog where the coat is thinnest.

What are the treatment options for heartworm?

First off, prevention is by far the best approach. There are several good prescription drugs that are available from your veterinarian. When some dogs are diagnosed, they usually have advanced heart disease and the prognosis for survival is low. One treatment option is to give an injectable drug to kill the adult heartworm. Several injections may be necessary to complete the task. Newer heartworm treatment protocols use a variety of drugs to kill the microfilariae.

Why is recovery and heartworm treatment challenging?

Complete rest is essential after treatment. The adult worms die in a few days and start to decompose. As they break up, they are carried to the lungs, where they are lodged in small blood vessels and are eventually reabsorbed by the body. This can take days to a month and can be dangerous, so it is absolutely essential that the dog is kept as quiet as possible and not allowed to exercise for 1 month following treatment. With the safe and affordable heartworm preventatives available today, no pets should have to endure this dreaded disease.


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Last updated: September 11, 2020

Chers clients,

Nous sommes tous conscients de la situation que nous avons vécue dans les derniers mois avec l'arrivée du Covid -19. Due aux défis causés par ces circonstances, nous avons décidé de fermer temporairement l'Hôpital Vétérinaire Acadia. A partir de lundi le 14 septembre, 2020, notre équipe sera consolidé avec celle de l’Hôpital Moncton Animal Hospital.

Dans les jours à suivre nous communiquerons avec nos clients qui ont des rendez-vous & chirurgies prévues afin de les re-planifier à l'Hôpital Moncton Animal Hospital avec Dr. Boutet.

Nous vous remercions à l’avance pour votre patience et votre collaboration pendant cette période hors de l’ordinaire. Nous souhaitons que vous, votre famille et vos animaux soyez sains et saufs.


Votre équipe de l'hôpital vétérinaire Acadia


To our valued Acadia Veterinary Hospital clients:

We are all aware of the rapidly changing situation we have faced over the last few months. Due to the ongoing challenges brought on by COVID-19, we have decided to temporarily close Acadia Veterinary Hospital. This is effective starting Monday September 14, 2020. We have consolidated the team with our Moncton Animal Hospital location so that we can continue to care for your pets.

In the coming days, we will contact clients who have appointments and surgeries booked to reschedule them to Moncton Animal Hospital with Dr Boutet.

Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. We hope that you, your family and pets all continue to stay healthy and safe.

The dedicated team at Acadia Veterinary Hospital